" The world's foremost network protocol analyzer, and is the de facto standard across many industries and educational institutions. "
- From Wireshark Foundation
Wireshark is the world's foremost network protocol analyzer, and is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions.
Wireshark development thrives thanks to the contributions of networking experts across the globe. It is the continuation of a project that started in 1998.
What is Wireshark?
Wireshark is a network packet analyzer. A network packet analyzer will try to capture network packets and tries to display that packet data as detailed as possible.
You could think of a network packet analyzer as a measuring device used to examine what's going on inside a network cable, just like a voltmeter is used by an electrician to examine what's going on inside an electric cable (but at a higher level, of course).
In the past, such tools were either very expensive, proprietary, or both. However, with the advent of Wireshark, all that has changed.
Wireshark is perhaps one of the best open source packet analyzers available today.
Some intended purposes
Here are some examples people use Wireshark for:
* network administrators use it to troubleshoot network problems
* network security engineers use it to examine security problems
* developers use it to debug protocol implementations
* people use it to learn network protocol internals
Beside these examples, Wireshark can be helpful in many other situations too.
Wireshark has a rich feature set which includes the following:
* Deep inspection of hundreds of protocols, with more being added all the time
* Live capture and offline analysis
* Standard three-pane packet browser
* Multi-platform: Runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and many others
* Captured network data can be browsed via a GUI, or via the TTY-mode TShark utility
* The most powerful display filters in the industry
* Rich VoIP analysis
* Read/write many different capture file formats: tcpdump (libpcap), Pcap NG, Catapult DCT2000, Cisco Secure IDS iplog, Microsoft Network Monitor, Network General Sniffer (compressed and uncompressed), Sniffer Pro, and NetXray, Network Instruments Observer, NetScreen snoop, Novell LANalyzer, RADCOM WAN/LAN Analyzer, Shomiti/Finisar Surveyor, Tektronix K12xx, Visual Networks Visual UpTime, WildPackets EtherPeek/TokenPeek/AiroPeek, and many others
* Capture files compressed with gzip can be decompressed on the fly
* Live data can be read from Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC, ATM, Bluetooth, USB, Token Ring, Frame Relay, FDDI, and others (depending on your platform)
* Decryption support for many protocols, including IPsec, ISAKMP, Kerberos, SNMPv3, SSL/TLS, WEP, and WPA/WPA2
* Coloring rules can be applied to the packet list for quick, intuitive analysis
* Output can be exported to XML, PostScript, CSV, or plain text